Pivot Switchblade – Review

May 29, 2017
by Vernon Felton  



Last May Pivot Cycles unveiled the Switchblade—a 135-millimeter (5.3 inch) travel 29er that can also do double duty as a 27.5+ bike, if you are so inclined. But before we get into all the geeky millimeters of travel and inches o’ wheelsize crap, the key thing to understand is that the Switchblade was meant to be a versatile bike—the kind of uber-capable machine that lets aggressive riders hang it out a bit more while also enabling less fierce riders to expand their idea of rad.

Pivot offers the Switchblade in a variety of trims—shod with either 29er and 27-plus wheels. Complete bike prices range from $5,199 to $10,399 (USD).


Pivot Switchblade Details
• Intended use: trail, all-mountain, enduro
• Rear wheel travel: 135mm
• Fork travel: 150mm or 160mm
• Wheel size(s): 29-inch or 27.5+
• Clearance for up to 27.5 x 3.25-inch tires or 29 x 2.4-inch tires
• Internal dropper post routing
• PF24 BB
• Front derailleur compatible
• Downhill (12x157mm) hub spacing
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Carbon front and rear triangles
• 6.4-pound frame (size Medium)
• 29-pound complete bike (size Medium)
• MSRP: $5,199- $10,399 USD ($7,699 as tested)
www.pivotcycles.com / @pivotcycles



Pivot Review
I spent much of the fall and winter running Shimano's 2x Di2 drivetrain. Thanks to the 157mm rear spacing the Switchblade sports super-short chainstays, yet has room for big tires and, should you desire it, a Shimano e-type, side-swing front derailleur.
Pivot Switchblade bike review by Vernon Felton
Beefy--that's the adjective that comes to mind when considering the Switchblade's frame. The double wishbone rear end, solid rear triangle, short linkages and massive downtube/bottom bracket junction make for a seriously stout chassis.

Frame Details

This bike’s heart and soul is its 2,900-gram (6.4-pound) composite frame. Pivot Cycles has always had an over-the-top industrial vibe to their design aesthetic. For a lot of people, that’s always been a love or hate proposition. While the latest Pivot models (including the Switchblade, Firebird and Mach 5.5) have more swoop to their frame members, the tube shaping still screams one word: “Stiff”. Consider the massive downtube/bottom bracket junction, the deep-section seat and chainstays and the double wishbone section of the rear triangle. Pair it all with Dave Weagle’s dual-link suspension design and the result is a frame that’s unlikely to be a flexy flier.

Pivot, however, went further in its pursuit of stiff. They wanted to create an aggressive 29er that flexed less than other models on the market and initially created aluminum Boost 148-equipped prototype Switchblades but were unsatisfied. They wanted a stiffer package still (as well a few other attributes we’ll get into shortly). Consequently, Pivot’s engineers decided to bypass Boost 148 (which they acknowledge does provide the potential for a stiffer overall package) and go straight to downhill (157x12) rear spacing. Pivot jokingly refers to their arrangement as Super Boost 157, but it’s not a new standard at all. Rather, it’s more of a novel pairing of existing products and standards.

Pivot Switchblade bike review by Vernon Felton
  The general design aesthetic runs towards the stout end of the spectrum.

The Switchblade’s wider (for a non-DH bike, that is) rear end is paired to hubs with wider flange spacing than earlier 157-mm downhill hubs. SRAM was, coincidentally, already working on new DH hubs along these lines. Pivot spoke with a variety of hub manufacturers about joining the fray and a few (including DT and i9) obliged with hubs of their own. The goal here was to improve the spokes’ bracing angle. Isn’t that the whole point of Boost 148? Yes, it is. These newer 157-mm hubs, however, offer even more flange spread. What kind of stiffness gains did Pivot actually realize? Cocalis and I get into that below, in the interview.

The desire to make a stout frame and wheel package, however, wasn’t the only motivation driving Pivot to go the 157 route. Pivot also wanted to give the bike short chainstays, yet still allow riders to mount rear tires as wide as 29x2.4 or 27.5x3.25 (though the plus-size versions rock a less squishy 27.5x2.8 tire). Oh, and Pivot also wanted to allow people to mount a front derailleur, if they were so inclined. That, for the record, is a to-do list with items that generally don’t party together.

X
  Crazy about spoke flanges? It takes all kinds... Per the diagram, spoke flange spacing has been increased by up to 14mm in the Super Boost Plus hubs. SRAM's new DH hub flanges are similarly spaced. You can see how those flanges match up against earlier 142, 148 and 157 hubs. Or you can shrug off all this hub talk and get down to the review. It's a free world.

You can mount big tires on a 29er, for instance, but that generally requires longer chainstays. Likewise, front derailleurs eat up massive real estate. Boost 148 provides a few crucial millimeters of wiggle room and has, if you talk to a lot of engineers, made designing bikes with short rear-centers and healthy tire clearance a shit-ton easier. Many of those bikes, however, don’t also allow you to run a front derailleur and go particularly wide on the rear tire selection. Pivot’s 157 approach let them get away with it all while creating a stout-as-hell package.

Does the Switchblade require fancy new parts? Nope. The Switchblade plays well with existing trail-bike bottom brackets and Boost 148 cranksets. On some RaceFace cranks (standard Turbine and Aeffect SL 1x cranks), you can simply flip the RaceFace 1x Cinch chainring over to get extra offset and a proper chainline. The Next SL crank on our test bike features a custom, interchangeable spindle to get the deed done. I've also run a Shimano XT 2x crankset with zero problems. Pivot says the frame will also work with SRAM Eagle X0 and XX1 cranks (with a Wolf Tooth zero-offset 1x chainring), though I have yet to try that out.

X
  Geometry-wise, the Pivot falls closely in line with the latest crop of aggressive trail/enduro 29ers. Our size Medium Switchblade, for instance, is nearly identical to a size Large Evil Following in High mode and not too far from what Santa Cruz cooked up with their Hightower model. You've heard the whole "long, low and slack" line before, so I won't belabor the point. Here's the chart.

If "Q-factor" just sounds like so much roadie wankery to you and you don’t mind being a bit bowlegged on the pedals, you can also mount a standard DH crankset (with spacers added). As for the rear, you can obviously go with an older 157-mm downhill hub, though you don’t get the benefits of the wider flange spacing. In short, the Switchblade doesn’t require a raft of new proprietary parts to get it rolling. You know how a lot of people said, “Why Boost 148? Why not just go with downhill spacing?” Well, Pivot Cycles wondered the same thing. So they did this. Why haven’t they, then, gone with Super Boost 157 on their latest two models (the new Firebird and Mach 5.5)? I asked Pivot’s CEO and head design guy, Chris Cocalis that as well. It’s in the interview bit below.

All this talk of Super Boost 157 has a way of gobbling up e-ink (if you care about it, check out my earlier report from the press launch); as a result, I haven’t mentioned that the Switchblade features a bevy of cable ports to accommodate its largely internal cable routing. If you're all about electronic shifting, the Switchblade is ready to go with a down tube port to tidily stow Shimano's battery. As for bottom bracket, the Switchblade sports a PF24. Would I prefer a threaded BB over a press-fit model? Yes. All day long. That said, I didn’t encounter any creaking with either the RaceFace or Shimano PF24 bottom brackets I used on this bike. Pivot’s frame tolerances have, over the years, proven pretty damn tight. Given the bike's proclivities, it comes as no surprise that you can mount a chain guide on the frame if you'd like. If you hate hydration packs, you'll be happy to know that there's room within the front triangle (on every frame, save the XS model) for a water bottle.



Four Questions with Pivot's Chris Cocalis


Why couldn’t you have made this bike in Boost 148?


Chris Cocalis: With the goals for this bike and what we achieved, 148mm was really an impossibility. Fitting both 1X and 2X drive-trains in the bike, clearing up to a 3.2” tire in 27.5+ and Maxxis Wide Trail 2.5” in the 29er size while achieving a 428mm chainstay length, and meeting our frame stiffness requirements could not happen with the 148mm spacing and the chainline that goes along with that width. There’s just too much tire, chainring, and chainstay occupying the same space. Just about everyone else has built 130-140mm travel enduro/trail 29ers with the 148mm boost spacing and they all have longer chainstays, and less tire clearance. Most would also not meet our rear triangle stiffness requirements. The Super Boost 157mm idea builds on the concept of keeping the Q factor the same as a 142mm rear spacing trail bike but pushes the drive-train out an additional 3mm to get us that extra clearance and stiffness needed to build a better 29er Enduro/trail bike.


Why not do SuperBoost on more of your bikes? Is it stopping here, with the Switchblade, and if that’s true does that suggest a lack of confidence on Pivot’s part in where things are going?



Chris Cocalis: We were not trying to replace Boost 148 with Super Boost Plus 157. We came up with the name to poke fun at ourselves a bit but also to describe what it is and it has been effective, however, it was not meant to one up or claim superiority over Boost 148mm. As you’ve seen, our new bikes after the Switchblade launch are Boost 148mm designs but these have all been either straight up 27.5” bikes like the Firebird or 29er XC bikes like the 429SL and LES. For these, we accomplish all our engineering and design parameters using Boost 148mm. It’s really about using the right tool for the job. We have a plan on where this and any other technology we may be developing is best used and we will use it accordingly. There is no lack of confidence from us and much of the industry in the potential of Super Boost Plus 157. You will just need to wait and see.


Some readers have commented that spreading the axle flanges wider will improve bracing angle, but lead to less even spoke tension. Your response?


Chris Cocalis: To some extent, comments about even spoke tension are accurate, but there is a lot going on here and there is a balance to be found. Fortunately, we have some solid numbers to back it up. When we developed this with DT and Industry Nine we were looking to improve spoke tension over a 142mm or 148mm hub which does not really have a reputation for having issues related to spoke tension. There are already 157mm DH hubs in the market (and we ran them at the beginning) that have nearly equal spoke tension on both sides, but when laced to a 29er alloy trail bike rim, you could get the wheel to bow and wind up similar to a 142mm rear hub, which makes sense given that bracing angle is not all that different from a 142mm hub.

In terms of spoke tension, both 142mm and 148mm hubs run approximately a 62/38 ratio of the flange distance from the centerline of the hub shell and rim. With the Super Boost Plus 157 idea, we wanted to spread those flanges as wide as possible while still having more even spoke tension. Working with DT, we arrived at a 60/40 split. DT Swiss ran some testing for us when we were developing the system using a 142mm rear spacing hub with a 25mm inner width 29er alloy rim as the benchmark. The Boost 148mm rear wheel is 16% stiffer than the 142mm wheel. This is a great stiffness gain and really very appropriate for an XC or shorter travel 29er trail bike or 27.5” bike but stronger riders can still get some wind-up and flex out of a 148mm Boost 29er alloy trail bike wheel and the 148mm doesn’t match the stiffness of the Boost 110 front wheel.

The Super Boost Plus 157 wheel is 46% stiffer than the 142mm rear wheel (30% stiffer than the 148mm wheel). It means that with big tires, a light 29er alloy rim can be used on the bike and have DH bike levels of stiffness and durability. I9, SRAM, Stan’s, and Sun Ringle have all updated their 157mm hub designs to these new flange widths and DT now offers both (for all you old school 26” wheel DH fans). All of these companies have tested the concept and found it worth their time and money to re-tool their existing hub shell designs. It works and makes for a stiffer and stronger wheel.


Much of the cable routing on the Switchblade is run within the frame, but you didn't equip the frame with internal tubes to help guide those cables. Why didn't you go that route?


Chris Cocalis: There are several reasons why we developed the Pivot cable port system instead of going that way. We actually had an internal tube system on our Mach 6 version 1 for the internal dropper. It was not always perfectly easy to push the housing through. With the droppers, you have some using 4mm housing and some using 5mm housing and even a variance of tolerances within this grouping. When you designed it to clear the biggest housing, then the 4mm housing could still rattle.

The internal tubes add about 30 grams per route and we wanted to avoid the weight gain. Also, you are really locked into that exact routing. If you run the brakes moto style, you don’t have the hosing exiting the non-drive side instead of making a nice bend around the head tube. It also really takes away the ability to route Di2 systems easily. Finally, water is going to get into the bike and with the internal tubes, it doesn’t always have a good way to get out. Water and gunk can sit in the middle of the internal routing tubes and corrode, making it very difficult to remove the old housing and even more difficult to replace with new housing. Our cable port system is lighter, offers the best future proofing and the most flexibility in routing options. Our system is super easy to use and clamps the housings securely so that you can eliminate any option of noise from cable housing rattling.





Specifications
Specifications
Release Date 2016
Price $7599
Travel 150 front, 135 rear
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT FACTORY DPS EVOL KASHIMA
Fork FOX 36 FACTORY 150mm KASHIMA BOOST 110QR
Cassette XT M8000 11-46 11 Speed
Crankarms RACE FACE AEFFECT SL 30T
Rear Derailleur XTR 11SPD GS
Shifter Pods XT 11 SPEED R
Handlebar PHOENIX CARBON RISER 740MM
Stem PHOENIX TRAIL ENDURO
Brakes XT 8000
Wheelset REYNOLDS CARBON 29 ENDURO CARBON 28mm inner rim w/i-9 HUBS
Seatpost FOX Transfer (LEV Integra for XS & S)





Pivot Switchblade bike review by Vernon Felton









Climbing


The Switchblade is a willing bike on the climbs. With the Fox Float DPS rear shock's "Open" mode set at the "2" level of compression damping, I could climb all but the steepest and longest of fire roads in that "Open" setting. If I'm particularly knackered and looking for inspiration on a smooth fire road climb, I might flick the blue lever into its middle setting, but I never resorted to flipping that lever again to the shock's firmest compression damping mode. DW Link bikes are famous for efficient pedaling characteristics and that hold true here as well. At just 29 pounds (13.15 kilograms) the Switchblade is reasonably easy on the scales for a bike that does the all-mountain/enduro thing. Moreover, the Switchblade generally feels lighter than the scales suggest when you are on the gas. Climbing traction over roots, baby heads and other things big and troublesome is outstanding.

All day suffer fests are not a problem aboard the Switchblade. Bear in mind, I'm not suggesting that this is some kind of sprightly trail bike--if that's what you want, you'd be better served by Pivot's Mach 429 Trail or Devinci's Django 29er or a similar model. The Switchblade, however, isn't so slack and long that it makes tight switchback climbs a pain in the ass. And, as I mentioned earlier, the bike is fleet of foot.

Pivot Switchblade Review by Vernon Felton

The Switchblade's bottom bracket is fairly low (13.3 inches) and even though the Switchblade rides fairly high in its travel when under pedaling loads, I did encounter a few more pedal strikes than normal when running the 29-inch wheels without Pivot's supplied 17-mm lower headset cup. That said, I'll gladly accept a few more pedal strikes than normal if it means I can reap the descending benefits of a lower bottom bracket. You can raise the bottom bracket slightly by always running the extra-tall, lower headset cup (not pictured here) and doing so is a must if you run the 27.5-plus wheels and tires (low-pressure, plus-size tires have their own degree of sag that has to be accounted for). After a season on this bike, however, I found I preferred the Switchblade with 29x2.3 and 2.4 tires… and the extra tall headset cup brings some not-so-awesome to that particular party.




Pivot Switchblade Review by Vernon Felton

Descending

I ran the Fox Float DPS with the prescribed 16 millimeters of suspension sag. Pivot supplies a handy little sag meter (zip tied to the shock body) and it's good that they do because the bike performs much better when you are spot on with the sag. As far as rebound settings go, I opted for about six clicks from fully open. Up front, I ran the 150-millimeter Fox Float 36 Factory fork at about 60 psi and with about five clicks (again, from wide open) of rebound damping. Once the suspension is dialed in… holy hell, the Switchblade is a blast.

While the reverse-mullet approach to suspension might look strange on paper, the bike feels nicely balanced out on the dirt—partly because the rear suspension feels deeper than the numbers suggest and because the burly frame construction and the bike's aggressive geometry conspire and convince you to push the bike as hard as you're daring. If you are looking at the "135 millimeters of travel" figure and thinking "trail bike", I'd recommend you recalibrate your expectations—yeah, it's a speedy climber, but it's happiest brawling its way over and through and around technical terrain. The bike rolls over the top of small rocks and drips and roots, but the suspension also handily devours the bigger hits.

Pivot Switchblade Review by Vernon Felton

I initially rode the Pivot in Moab, on Porcupine Rim, Mag 7, Ahab and a variety of other ledgy, square-edged trails. The Switchblade was a hoot out there, but it actually shines brighter on the tighter, forested trails around Bellingham. While the bike sports a healthy reach (I ride a Medium Switchblade, as opposed to a Large in most other models in this gene pool), the short 16.85-inch chainstays make flicking the rear end around absolutely second nature. The overall wheelbase on the bike also strikes a happy, er, medium. I could have sized up to a Large for extra stability, but then I would have lost some of the bike's nimble feel on awkward trails. Given my riding style, I found the Medium the better choice for my 5'11" frame.

I experimented with both 27+ and 29er wheels and tires. For me, it was a simple choice—29. The fatter, 2.8-inch Maxxis Rekons provided outstanding grip and add some stability to the mix, but I just flat out prefer the way a 2.4 or 2.5-inch tire feels in the corners… more precise, more obvious bite. That's all personal preference, though. I have friends who rode the bike with 2.8s and wound up, to their surprise, preferring them.

Swapping from one wheel size is as simple as installing the extra-tall, 17-millimeter lower headset cup that is supplied with the bike. I actually rode around with that cup on the bike for a few months, but felt that the front end was just too high—even when I had the stem slammed as low it would go. The head tube is not particularly tall, but the 29er, 150-travel Fox 36 does add some height to the equation—it's a fair bit of axle to crown. My bars on the Switchblade were a solid inch and change higher than my bars on the Evil Following and Santa Cruz Hightower, both of which are sporting 140-travel forks and a handful of spacers beneath the stem. Ditching the tall cup and replacing it with Pivot's ZeroStack cup immediately canceled out the dreaded T-Rex feel and made getting the bike off the ground easier.

Pivot Switchblade bike review by Vernon Felton
Plenty of room here to run wide tires and still have tons of mud clearance.
Pivot Switchblade bike review by Vernon Felton
The Kashima-coated Fox 36 Factory fork is the right tool for the Switchblade's job.

When I wrote my initial impressions of the Switchblade I said that it'd take time for me to weigh in definitively on whether or not all that Super Boost 157 stuff actually added up to a stiffer ride. While the perfect comparison would be to compare a Boost 148 Switchblade alongside a Super Boost 157 Switchblade, that, of course, is an impossibility. However, when I ride the Switchblade back to back with, for example, the Evil Following and Santa Cruz Hightower, I can say without hesitation that, yes, this is one stiff son of a bitch.

I'm not going to say the Switchblade feels "like a downhill bike', but if you could somehow make a tank feel nimble and light, then, yeah, that would be the Switchblade. In fact, I'd argue that the stiffness actually edged into "jarring" territory on rockier turns. While I appreciate the pimp-factor of the upgrade Reynolds Carbon Enduro 29 wheels, I'd strongly recommend going with the standard, aluminum DT XM Series 29-inch wheel package, which would likely offer a more balanced overall ride feel. Naturally, going aluminum also cleaves $1,300 off the sticker price (bringing the price to $6,399), which never hurts.

Do I think Super Boost 157 is a good idea? I hate the rate at which things change in the bike industry. However, I look at what Pivot has done here and it has me thinking that Boost 148, while offering some definite design advantages over 142 rear axles, is more of a half-step progression. Can you make great bikes in Boost 148? Sure. We rode great 142-equipped bikes, for that matter. The 157-millimeter rear end, however, gives both riders and designers a hell of a lot more leeway on tire choice on bikes with short rear ends.

Pivot Switchblade Review by Vernon Felton

While I figured I'd be rubbing my heels on the chainstays given the wider rear end, I never did. Nor did I encounter chain line problems. I could backpedal in first gear (hey, sometimes I just like doing that…) to my heart's content or ratchet on steep, technical climbs without fear of my chain derailing down to a smaller cog. In short, this 157 set up works well and clearly offers riders more flexibility, which makes me think, again, that we could have skipped over 148 and gotten more benefit out of that painful, crappy shift from 142x12 rear ends.

The only downside at this point? If you suddenly taco a rear wheel, you're not going to find a whole lot of lightweight rear wheel options with 157x12 rear hubs. A growing number of manufacturers are making the hubs, but the bulk of pre-built wheels out there are Boost 148—there's no getting around that.


Component Check

By now you may have noticed that some of the components on our test bike differ from the parts listed on the spec sheet—that's because we received an early sample with the XTR/XT Pro 1X build kit. The latest version of that build kit features a different crank and dropper post than what's pictured here.

• Shimano XT/XTR Drivetrain: Precise shifts. Every time. Bang, bang, bang. Do you really need the XTR rear mech? For my money, XT is damn hard to beat when it comes to single-ring drivetrains, but this set up proved flawless and worked well with the RaceFace Next SL crankset. The most current version of this build kit features a RaceFace Aeffect SL crank.

• Shimano XT brakes: A lot of people love XT. I appreciate the fact that the mineral oil is fairly benign to handle (unlike DOT fluids) and won't lead to a set of testes suddenly sprouting from my forehead. Similarly, mineral oil doesn't attract as much moisture from the air, which can be a drag with DOT-fluid brakes in my soggy clime. That said, I'm not a big fan of the way XT brakes actually feel. Tons of lever throw that does very little to advance the pistons to the rotor (and which you can't easily shorten) and then suddenly a whole lot of stopping power at the end of the stroke. If you ride Shimano brakes extensively, you've probably adjusted to this, love how Shimano's feel and think that I'm a loon for mentioning it. I admit, this is a subjective thing. I won't knock XT's overall reliability, but I'd opt for different brakes.


Pivot Switchblade Review by Vernon Felton

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Switchblade is incredibly versatile. While the bike's rear end spacing tends to dominate the conversation, the takeaway is that Pivot has created a lightweight, bomber of a bike that handles all-day climbs with aplomb and absolutely devours descents. The word "capable" gets thrown around a lot in bike reviews, but the Switchblade truly epitomizes the term.  Vernon Felton






About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 45 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 34" • Weight: 175lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None •
In 1988 Vernon started riding mountain bikes—mainly to avoid the people throwing cans of Budweiser at him during his road rides. At some point, roughly when Ronald Reagan was president and Hüsker Dü was still a band, he began loving mountain bikes on their own terms. Vernon Felton spends most of his time riding bikes, thinking about bikes, thinking about riding bikes and then riding some more around Bellingham, Washington. If it has a greasy chain and two wheels on it, he’s cool with it. Except for recumbents. Well, okay, maybe those too. Nah, forget it. No recumbents.



198 Comments

  • + 138
 Bike industry you really make it hard for us to love you.
  • + 55
 After 157, bring back 20mm front fork axles....oh wait
  • + 13
 @leelau: I could not ride this bike without hitting my ankles on the seat stays
  • + 10
 @leelau: I'm with you on that though - going from 20x110 and 12x157 to ... wait for it ... 20x110 and 12x157 hubs but with widened flange spacing would have been brilliant from the get-go.

My dream (bench racing flavored) bike would be to take Rocky Mountain's Slayer platform and expand it to 12x157mm out back [as the blind pivot for the rear linkage helps a lot with heel clearance], leverage the Ride9 setup (and maybe even add a flip link on the front mount for maximum 29/27+ interchangeability while keeping the fine tune adjust of Ride4/Ride9], and build it out with 150-160mm of travel. Borrow the exact leverage/anti-squat curves off the Slayer, add a 20x110 ready fork (that can run pinch bolts OR TA) and job done.
  • + 59
 Fckt this hub shite. I'm off to the pub to get boosted.
  • + 4
 @diego-b: I've been told that larger shoe sized feet will contact the seat stays. US 9.5/10 sz 43 and I made it with some clearance
  • + 22
 Just arrived at the pub a few minutes ago. Startex drunking game where drink every time read boost. Blood alc.% already 157 proof.
  • + 3
 @leelau:

Me too. Also shoes rubbing on the cranks. Good on the DH and turns but did not pedal as well as others in that class.
  • + 4
 @CodeBlue: I demoed the switchblade recently and forgot all about that axle stuff. never noticed anything (shoe size 43 and five ten/flatpedals and a large frame).
I enjoyed it but didn't like the imprecision of the wagon wheels. yes they roll fast, but you just tend to let them do their thing which is a bit boring I think. I much rather like to throw around my sb66. also it didn't feel like you were sitting much more "in the bike" like everybody recently keeps saying about 29ers. more the opposite.
  • + 4
 @diego-b: I couldn't ride this bike without rubbing my calves on the seat stays
  • + 1
 No issues with size 45. No issues with 28H wheels either. One issue you might run into is accidentially hitting the rear axle handle with your soles bc the chainstays are so short, so be sure to move it to 3pm position. Or get an axle without a handle.
  • + 1
 @leelau: 20mm super boost PLUS M8!!!
  • + 6
 is it just me or does every bike review come with multiple paragraphs of disclaimers now?
  • + 5
 "Let's make the rear axle as wide as possible to make the CS as short as possible"

Da fuqt do these industry people smoke on the reg?
  • + 2
 @gonecoastal:
simply. want the big fat tire we want to not hit the chain and rings or frong mech if thats youf thing. make the crankset rings sit wider. then widen the rear to keep chain line correct. because short chain stay bikes are way more fun!
  • + 4
 next year it'll change again
  • + 1
 @leelau: This is not true at all. I have size 47 shoes, and have no issues with my shoes contacting the stays. I have never hit my ankle on the crank or frame. I have done this on other brands of bikes with 142mm spaced rear hubs, but never on my Switchblade.
  • + 1
 @dan23dan23: Thanks for the data. I was told this by big feet guys riding the Switchblade. As I said not an issue for my medium feet
  • + 1
 @leelau: I rock size 45 shoes and ride a bit duck-footed--I haven't hit the stays yet after a year of riding the bike. Admittedly surprising, but there it is.
  • + 2
 Each time someone comes up with a new standard which doesn't bring an obvious* advantage, I wish him a slow, cruel and painful death...

*Rule of thumb: If you have to explain why it's better, it's not obvious.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: Spot on!

Back in 2001 when I first rode a 29'er I knew it was better. This was after 100 yards on the street...26'ers were dead to me. Got home and sold my three bikes that were now ancient relics.....haven't looked back.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: That's what I thought until I rode it. Stiffest laterally and most playful 29er I ever rode. Bought one this morning.
  • + 53
 Well-written review, though I'll offer these potential corrections/clarifications:
1) Article states that, relative to 142, 148 is 16% stiffer and 157 is 46% stiffer, and then concludes 157 is 30% stiffer than 148. That math doesn't hold up. Assuming the 16% and 46% figures are correct, then 157 is (146/116 -100) = 25.8% stiffer than 148.
OK, queue the anti-math, detail=dweeb hater comments.
2) The statement "DT now offers both" the 157 and SuperBoost157 is, practically speaking, false. Yes, anyone can buy a traditional 157 spaced DH hub from DT,. But literally NO ONE but Pivot can buy the Super Boost model. I've spoken repeatedly to DT, Pivot, and Pivot dealers, and you CANNOT buy a DT SuperBoost hub (or wheel) aftermarket. DT says it is a custom, Pivot-only product. Pivot says they don't sell hubs, to contact DT. Hell, you can't even buy the stock DT full wheels in Super Boost from Pivot dealers!! So all the functional benefits touted by Cocalis about Super Boost are un-achievable if one prefers DT and wants a second set of wheels. Pivot is generally a very well-managed company, but the decision to offer a bike that begs for two wheelsets, and then consciously block retail aftermarket access to the defacto industry standard for value hub/wheel (DT350) is unforgivable.
  • + 1
 I think you should google moment of inertia Wink
  • + 13
 @Inertiaman in psychology there is a school of thought in re Weber's law of just noticeable differences. Somewhat turgid reading but here it is - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference. It *attempts* to quantify at what "amount something must be changed in order for a difference to be noticeable, detectable at least half the time". Of course it cannot account for the very sensitive-to-change crowd which I would posit are overly represented in the people who've paid lots of money for a brand new bling machine

I would suspect engineers and marketing people do not read about JND
  • + 3
 @leelau: As an engineer - we do. It's exceptionally relevant, but when looking at a multi-dimensional traespace, one is trying to add up the cumulative differences in each one of those areas for a new design (not just on the final product performance side, but also into production efficiency) to justify a new design.

A lot of effects go into why bikes seem amazing to buyers (particularly those who actually hold onto bikes for more than a season or two), and the struggle to quantify that, in order to enable the 'More Cowbell' mentality, is what the marketing teams are trying to leverage into sales.
  • + 1
 There are, point of fact, OTHER hub manufacturers who did in fact widen the flanges on their 150/157 hubs beyond keeping them identical to where 135/142 hubs had been as SRAM, DT and I9 did.
  • + 8
 It's crazy that you still can't buy aftermarket hubs to this spec. Even if it was through Pivot. That's definitely dropping the ball on a critical item.
  • + 0
 @vikb: give it a few months and there will be loads of options. Trek session 29'er runs a boost 157 rear so I'm guessing most of the new 29'er downhill bikes will go the same way.
  • + 2
 It's been a year already and nothing. I'm not getting any hopes up.
  • + 2
 What about industry nines superboost hub? Do they not count? Or am I missing something?

industrynine.com/torch-classic-mtb-hubs/dh-150157-sb
  • + 2
 I think what you're trying to say is that your logical math doesn't match with the maths they did for their comparisons because in reality it's all a bunch of BS anyway. I'll stick with my 142 rear, boost what? Boost their profits..
  • - 1
 Don't think you realized 157 DH hub spacing is not the same as 157 super boost that the switchblade uses. Therefore neither is cross compatible. @philblue:
  • + 5
 @erbsforlife:

In point of fact...the hub spacing is identical in terms of chainline and disc rotor flange position...its the spoke flanges themselves which are different. Super boost is NOT a new hub axle spacing. Its a new spoke flange standard. 150/157 DH hubs had a lot of shell real estate between the non-drive spoke flange and the disc flange that largely went to waste with most hub manufacturers.
  • + 1
 Yes it is, the only difference is the flange spacing, the brake disc stays in the same place so they are cross compatible, it'd be shocked if the new breed of 29'er downhill bikes weren't the same as comes on the switchblade. Why would they choose to have a heavily dished weaker rear wheel? @erbsforlife:
  • + 0
 @erbsforlife: Actually Sram XO is, the difference between super boost 157mm and what was already available is the flange spacing. I built up a set of plus size using Sram and talked to Pivot to confirm that this a good choice, they confirmed that yes XO was an excellent choice and was readily available at the time I built them last year.
  • + 46
 Another technical observation I'll offer about SuperBoost:
Literally ALL the stiffness gained by going to SB157 over traditional (symmetric flange) 157 was then cancelled by the simultaneous decision to use 28 spoke wheels in many of the stock Pivot wheels. If those stiffness gains were so precious, why give them up via 28 spokes rather than keeping it 32?
  • + 12
 Maybe because its already a heavy bike at 7500$
  • + 11
 @splayleg: how much does 4 spokes weigh?
  • + 73
 @jaydawg69: half as much as 8
  • + 6
 @splayleg: and twice as much as two! :-D
  • + 2
 @jaydawg69:

Worst case, for straight 14 gauge spokes in the length to do a 29er wheel you're looking at about 8 grams per spoke.
  • + 4
 @deeeight: I think I will take a 30g hit for added stiffness and peace of mind.
  • + 8
 @jaydawg69: its mad to even think of grams, most of the guys affording this are likely to be my size (not overly athletic). Which in turn means, a big turd before your ride will lose you a hell of a lot more than a few spokes will!

My bikes keep getting heavier each time, harder to break, the way forwards!!
  • - 1
 @jaydawg69: enough to break the ice?
  • + 45
 #142aintdead
  • + 30
 Super Boost Plus, lol.
  • + 12
 I am waiting for the Doubleplusungood Super Boost
  • + 9
 Just wait for UberBoost...
  • + 3
 Yep, no way am I buying into this hype!
  • + 21
 I rode one at a demo last year and loved it but the price point was to far out for me. So I just built a Canfield Riot and have no regrets.
  • + 10
 The RIOT is a great choice! Great company and an absolute killer bike.
  • + 15
 Riot, 27.5x2.8 compatible, 414 mm chainstay length, and only 142 wide rear hub!? That's black magic! No way that's possible!
  • + 5
 It's also worth noting that the lower link on pivots have a small shelf between the link and frame. Mud/rocks get in there and get ground up scratching the frame. Not a good "feature" for expensive bikes. It's all in the details.
  • + 9
 I rode one at a demo last year and found it kinda meh in light of the price point - okay everywhere, but not spectacular anywhere. So I just built a Banshee Prime and have no regrets.
  • + 10
 I just saved a ton of money by switching to reverse and getting the hell out of there. I too have no regrets. That old lady didnt have much time left anyway.
  • + 14
 "Climbs with aplomb and absolutely devours descents" - All I see is "Climbs like an XC, decends like a DH." Same Vernon Felton Template.
  • + 7
 To be fair, if someone built a bike that didn't do either of those things, people here wouldn't want it - unless its a pure XC rig or DH shuttle bike... So...
  • + 1
 Yes, and the review is in total contrast with what I've read from Blister Gear Review.
  • + 2
 Any trail/enduro rig climbs like a XC bike if you got the power & endurance
  • - 1
 @enduroFactory: Maybe that is the "problem" with reviewers, them being in a much better shape than the average Joe. Everyday riding does that.
  • + 2
 @jollyXroger: Having ridden the Switchblade about the same amount as the guys at Blister (though in 27+ not 29) I completely disagree with the majority of their review. I'd say, having ridden it, Vernon is much closer to the mark.
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: I will have to take your word for it.
  • + 1
 every review these days
  • + 1
 I demod this and it climbs better than my tallboy cc with enve wheels. its the dw link it melts square edges and doesn't suck any power unlike a a speech stumpy for example which wallows up
  • + 12
 Didn't specialized go back to a 135 on their demo a few years ago because 150/157 was too wide and riders were rubbing heels on the rear end? I know my 150mm yeti rear end is almost devoid of paint.
  • + 4
 Older demos were 135mm hub offset 6mm to make the wheel zero dish and running 73mm bb. I have one and hit my heel on the chainstay sometimes. Newer ones went to 150 with no offset and 83mm bb same as everyone else.
  • + 1
 @JamesR2026: Am I right in saying that before the most recent 135mm rear end they too were running a 150/157??
  • + 14
 BTW its cheaper to mould frames with internal routing. Its cheaper to have press fit BB. Its about being cheap.
  • + 1
 Yes, a press fit bottom bracket is cheaper No, internal cable routing is not cheaper
  • + 1
 @SleepingAwake: there is less machining of the mould.
Its easier to finish the frame.
So it is a factor of labor cost.
You need inserts for internal cables . Also internal tubes.
So why internal cable routing?
Just for appearance?
  • + 1
 @Sshredder: on the bikes I know the cable guides for externally ​routed cables are glued on after the fact. So no additional machining of the mould and only very little additional labor, if any. Holes have to be drilled as well and cutting holes in carbon with a nice surface finish in weird angle is quite intensive in machining and heavy on tools. Furthermore the layup gets more complicated with additional fiberglass patches to reinforce the area. And while it probably is less labor intensive in finishing it is more labor intensive in assembly as you have to route the cables through the frame and bleed brakes).
Some companies even have internal cable guides which is a whole different level of complexity.
I bet it's mostly for appearance. But ultimately I don't know...
  • + 8
 TBH I think Super Boost is what we should have gotten in the first place. So fine. My only complaint with this otherwise incredibly forward-thinking bike is the seat tube diameter. I like the trend of shortening seat tubes. I'm 6'6" and as long as we have 150-200mm droppers it's all good with incredible amounts of clearance. So why the hell use 30.9 when we have 34.9? It's not like they're afraid of championing new standards. This is kind of a big deal when you have 220+ lbs of leverage on a fully extended post.
  • + 1
 Your wish will soon come to fruition.... working within the constraints of existing frame standards, there will always be a mismatch with component until the market demand supports each subsequent refinement / or frame design mod. It's a chicken and egg problem.
  • + 0
 @Loamhuck: Not really. There are a few brands using 34.9 already and you can get seatposts from Rock Shox (and soon 9.Cool . These products have been around for at least a year.
  • + 2
 they need something to upgrade next year. its all planned 5 years ahead...
  • + 12
 For a 150 36 up front, isn't a 67.25 HA relatively steep?
  • + 3
 very. competition is in the 66 deg range for that travel.
  • + 4
 @bridgermurray relatively? Perhaps. But if it got any slacker it would be endangering that "do everything" and "quiver killer" designation. Heck, I don't know if a person would even want a bike these days unless it makes them french toast in the morning and does their taxes..
  • + 2
 @mikealive: I mean I sure as hell don't.
  • + 7
 At what point does a design change become a marketing flaw? Superboost rear end leaves riders like me who swap wheelsets on my SC hightower out on a regular basis, in a position of lack of readily available wheel options. Press fit BB? headset change to swap wheels? Sorry Pivot. You can do much better.
  • - 4
flag glaw (May 29, 2017 at 10:58) (Below Threshold)
 Lots of wheel options available, 157 DH standard or Boost 157. All you need to do is look. Don't have to change headsets to swap between wheels.
  • + 6
 I own a 429 trail. Bought it for a little bit of xc racing and as an alternative to my hd3 for trail riding. My mach 429 trail, the Hightower, Tallboy and fuel ex all have about the same amount of rear end flex when pushed side to side. The switchblade was as stiff or stiffer than my hd3. Very accurate and honest review
  • + 8
 @vernonfelton why so serious in the pics?! The write-up says smiles-for-miles, but the mug shots say serious business only! Which is it??
  • + 8
 2017, the year mountain bikes became longer, bigger and wider than motocross
  • + 18
 And cost more too !
  • - 1
 @MX298: I can already here someone out there typing that generic BS reply:"Yes, but the pro level competition MX bike costs $$$$$$. Compared to that a pro level MTB you can buy in a shop for $$$$$ is a bargain." Right -.-
  • + 5
 Yep, my AM hardtail is just shy of taking up the same bed length as my mx bikes! As for cost- I'd rather drop the 8k on the 450 mx bike, somehow 12-13 inches of travel with a 55hp titanium valved engine spinning to 12k rpm feels like more value....
  • + 1
 Also mtb has been inching closer to the same basic head angle mx bikes figured out awhile ago~64 degrees about
  • + 6
 Please, just once let there be of a review of an honest ta G#d trail bike that feels like its numbers suggest. Not deeper, bigger, bottomless et al. Enough. BTW baby, my 160 feels like his 220...
  • + 5
 Boost 148 blah blah Boast 157 blah blah. Missing the point, it's a great bike. Excellent geometry, efficient pedaling, super strong frame for the weight. Want a climb like rock crawler and descend like you're skiing deep powder, build it out as a 27.5+. Want a playful rocket ship that can handle hair on fire speed just about everywhere, build it out as a 29er. Pivot isn't trying to force anybody to pick sides in the stupid standards wars, they're just focused on building killer bikes.
  • + 5
 One incremental improvement after another. It's like the DOT in Chicago, adding one lane at a time to a freeway that clearly needs five. Why do it all at once when you can have jobs for decades?
  • + 3
 Good analogy! iPhone 12!
  • + 2
 Well said. Can totally relate to the northern Illinois analogy.
  • + 4
 Hi everyone, I have been aso riding my Switchblade for 1150km now, I really do like this bike, very versatile and very fun as well.
- What could by improve is the adding 20mm to the 160mm disc brake rotor at the rear.
What I found about not having any internal tubes is that if you do not tighten very well your cables, they will make some noises by banging the inside wall of the frame. But considering that there are so much options for this bike, I understand it is safer und simpler to go without internal tubes.
For information, I am riding with the special cup underneath the headset with 29" wheels, to make my bike a bit slacker (about half a degree), and not so much pedal strikes (even with 175mm arm)
Also when it comes to ankles clearance, I am riding with Fiveten in 45, and never ever have I hitted the frame ! In comparaison with my previous bike (Dune with 142mm rear axle) it happened one or two times per ride.
Cheers everyone Smile
  • + 4
 I've had mine 4 months and love it. Get rid of the lower cup and extend your forks to 160. You'll won't be disappointed. ????
  • + 1
 @philblue: have you bought a new fork? I ask my shop, they say it is not possible to extend it...
  • + 5
 @ArthurFr: no it's the standard Fox 36 fit4 boost fork. The forks are meant to be at 160 but pivot order them set at 150. All that needs to be done is one 10mm aluminium travel reducer needs to be removed. Takes about half an hour.
  • + 5
 7599 - thats the price of a Skoda Citigo with a/c...

I am not convinced of that superboost yet. I have symmetrical spokes on my 650b/29er hardtail, on a 135mm hub - and a non-boost chainline.
  • + 6
 Wait, they put 740mm handlebars on that? Why? Is it like an 80mm stem while they're at it?
  • + 1
 What did they do with the rest???
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton what are the odds of a multi-bike comparison test happening at some point? Done and written by Pinkbike of course. Considering it seems to be one of the most popular up-and-coming types of mtn bikes, a fleet of mid-travel 29ers would certainly be my suggestion for a first comparison. Think Hightower, Switchy, Stumpy, Following, Jeffsey, etc.
Would seriously appreciate even a minimal reply for this! Thanks
  • + 3
 So My 2016 XT brakes which have worked flawlessly, plenty of power, no sticky pistons, no dot brake fluid to deal with, I just pull the lever and they work. I now have to go ride my bike and pay attention to my brakes that I never have to think about to decide if there is too much lever throw.

Hmmm............ I guess a bike that works so well that all you can bitch about is the lever throw on the brakes? Why not complain about the fact that (Let's say hypothetically) if you owned a very nice carbon wheelset that you wanted to transfer over to this bike and the rear hub consisted of a DT swiss 240 rear hub 142 or 148 swiss straight pull hub with Sapim CX-ray spokes. Is that stiffness really that necessary for the average rider?

I don't know what point I am even trying to make here. I think i just felt like bitching. But than I think of my Turner RFX that runs a 142 spaced rear hub and is front derailleur compatible and single ring. I never have noticed any flex in the back and it didn't cost me any money in upgrades when transferring parts over. Oh shit, wait!!!!! It also has XT brakes. Damn it, too much lever throw. What am I going to do now?
  • + 6
 I kind of agree. But at the same time every modern advantage your current bike is an accumulation of incremental improvements over what came before. Individually each of those improvements could have been challenged "is that stiffness really necessary for the average rider?". It turns out yes. In aggregate all those small improvements have led to the incredibly durable and versatile (and expensive) bikes we get to ride now. You agree otherwise you'd still be riding a bike from 2002.
  • + 4
 There seems to be two schools of thought on XT's. I have many friends who love them, personally they're driving me nuts - sure they have tons of power but I don't like them because they don't feel useful as they're kinda on/off feeling, as opposed to Hope's where I used the power of the brakes less by using a little modulation a lot more. But to each their own.
  • + 10
 You know I finally read the whole review. I realized he whined twice about an incredibly solid product (XT brakes) yet stated "Swapping from one wheel size is as simple as installing the extra-tall, 17-millimeter lower headset cup that is supplied with the bike" He said it was simple and did not complain. Last time I checked, removing a headset cup and than installing one into the frame is far from an easy task that probably 85% of the "Real" general riding public has no idea how to do on their own, let alone having the tools at home except for going to the shop and paying $20-30 dollars to have them do it.

I watch the news on TV and it certainly isn't objective or biased as news is suppossed to be (Lot's of sarcasm in that statement if you didn't realize it) Yet this is a major issue about the bike for the majority of non-PB readers that aren't home mechanics. Let alone having an extra wheelset laying around with quality tires on them. Why not mention the drawback of that as well? If I was a consumer reading this review because I was researching buying a new bike. I would think that this must be a very easy task and not expensive. My biggest worry about the bike would be the brakes. and I would think wow I can have 2 bikes for the price of one for not much money. Because the reviewer never mentioned the drawback to this

These are real issues about the bike and a "Drawback" Or is Pivot not recommending this bike for the genral public and it is only meant for hardcore forum participants that have a bike shop in their garage or living room? extra wheelsets and hubs laying around, and all the tools necessary. Or is @VernonFelton too scared to actually say what is truly bad about the bike instead of knocking the XT brakes twice, which is much simpler and doesn't imply anything negative about Pivot.

Okay I acknowledge that I am in a bad mood today and am just stupidly ranting. But really I am tired of reading the same reviews. I know that if I go to MTBR, bike radar, or any mag I will essentially read the same exact review all at the same time. Why not be different and actually list the real drawbacks instead of bitching twice about the XT brakes which is really just a personal prefernce of yours. Last time I checked that is not "Objective" journalism.

Okay, enough bitching, negative prop me away, and have a good day ya'll Smile
  • + 1
 @spunkmtb: Or you just leave the 17mm cup in all the time and never have to worry about it.
  • + 3
 @spunkmtb: While it's true i've worked in a bike shop and might have a different perspective than you about the ease/difficulty of a particular procedure, I don't think adding or removing a headset cup is, in fact, a technically challenging process. The biggest hurdle is, to be sure, buying a headset press. Investing in bike tools, however, is one of those things we all have to do at some point or another. Brakes need bleeding, spokes loosen up and need tightening, bottom brackets need to be removed and/or installed. C'est la vie. For the record, I generally remove headset cups with nothing more than a flat-blade screwdriver and a mallet.

Moreover, what I am describing in the review is that Pivot gives you the option to run either wheel size (29er or 27.5+) and that you can essentially maintain equivalent geo and reduce pedal strikes by adding the tall cup, should you, in fact, opt to go from 29er wheels and tires to 27.5x2.8 or 3.0.

The bike, however, doesn't demand that you make the swap at all. You can run either wheel size and be just fine. Again, it's an option--an option that not every bike out there gives you. This is fundamentally different than a drawback. While some companies, admittedly, don't require that you install a different headset lower cup in order to go back and forth between these two wheel sizes, you'll then generally wind up having to fiddle with the shock mount. Not that doing so is a drawback, per se, either: it's just an acknowledgement that putting 27.5x2.8 tires on a 29er (if the bike design does, in fact, allow for it) leads to different geometry (most notably a lower BB that will likely have you smacking pedals). In short, every bike that gives you the opportunity to run both 29 and 27-plus tires and wheels WILL require that you fiddle with something to maintain proper geometry. That's just reality. The drawback, really, would be if you didn't have the option to make the swap in the first place.

In short, bikes like the Hightower and the Switchblade are giving people more choice by not restricting the bike owner to a single wheel size. I don't see how that can be construed as a drawback.

As for not being a huge fan of how XT brakes work, I'm taking pains in the review to note that lots of people love the way they feel at the lever and that I simply am not one of them. A biased review would simply state that they were "bad" or that they "sucked". Instead, I've explained what I find lacking and noted where the brakes do, in fact, shine (reliability).
  • + 7
 @vernonfelton: A flip chip in shock linkage, or installing a headset cup. Yeah sure, neither one is a 'drawback', merely a "difference"... until you compare them to their peers. Then suddenly it may seem like a drawback, no?

Unless we can gloss over the fact that the flip chip requires *at most* a hex key and a shock pump, and swapping a headset is significantly more involved. Sure, I installed some parts on my very first bike with a hammer and a broken hockey stick, but it wasn't a 5K+ carbon machine either. On that note, no wrench worth their salt is using a flathead and a mallet to remove that cup--though it can be done. I suppose as long as we're going with an 'absolute bare minimum' scenario, the all-but-required mechanic's stand can be foregone too, why not haha.

I'll agree, options are good! Happy to have them. But it is disingenuous to suggest replacing a headset cup is 'no big deal' and that all one needs are 'a few tools'. I can pull the head off the motor in my car with nothing more than a 10mm and 12mm socket--tools that are much more ubiquitous tool than a headset press. Technically, a pretty straight forward job. But I would be a fool to argue that doing so only requires a few tools or is no big deal.
  • + 0
 @vernonfelton: Lol I own a small shop and am a mechanic. I am well aware of what is involved in the process of removing & replacing a headset cup. When I ran a repair shop out of my garage as a passion project for 8 years I had the very cheap tools that a guy on MTBR sells to do those things. They worked okay with a learning curve. Thank god it was an aluminum frames that I was practicing on and not expensive carbon. You said "For the record, I generally remove headset cups with nothing more than a flat-blade screwdriver and a mallet” If I had multiple manufacturer supplied frames and parts I would do that to. However I would never do that to a customers bike or any of my stuff. I may own a shop but I can’t afford to damage my highness parts. Also I am advocating for the Joe Blow consumer that is not a forum slut who may want this bike and use both wheel options. Your review is misleading in this regard

If I was joe-blow consumer researching this bike as a potential new bike purchase and read your review. You stated that swapping the headset cup is super easy "Swapping from one wheel size is as simple as installing the extra-tall, 17-millimeter lower headset cup that is supplied with the bike". Nothing mentioned about the cost of driving the bike to the shop & paying the bike shop to do this swap, than having to go back to the bike shop to pick it up. Also paying the bike shop. Unless of course you call my shop (Shameless plug here) Velofix mobile repair shop. I think this was my major point. For all us forum members yes it is super easy to do & if I don't have the tools and or knowledge, a buddy does. But again the joe-blow consumer (who i am advocating for here) that is reading this and wants to have access to both wheel sizes will read your review and think it's easy. You also didn't mention having to swap the cassette & brake rotors as well (Or having to purchase extras if you don't want to swap). There is nothing easy about this on this bike compared to other manufactures 29/27.5+ options. The more I think about it the worse my headache from yesterday is coming back. Guess I shouldn’t

What I'm trying to say is you should be writing these reviews for the average consumer who may be researching this bike as a future purchase. What you wrote on the XT brakes was a biased personal preference and you glanced over what the "Industry" wants us to swallow and accept. My take away was the XT brakes sucked and need to be replaced and swapping wheel sizes is super easy.

What I am tired of as well as everyone else is how the industry is making us throw away very high end parts every couple of years to upgrade.

Also you said "In short, bikes like the Hightower and the Switchblade are giving people more choice by not restricting the bike owner to a single wheel size. I don't see how that can be construed as a drawback." It isn't a drawback. You saying that swapping wheelsets is as simple as swapping a lower headset cup isn't true. It isn't simple. Other manufacturers don't require you to swap a cup. That is simple. This is complicated.

Granted I was in a pissy mood yesterday with a headache and taking care of my 1.5yo son alone who was egging my headache on. I greatly respect you, your reviews, and your writing style from your days in the old/other magazine. I'm actually honored that you replied to me.

Also, I just realized something. I ride XL frames, i'm 6'2 and have XL hands & long fingers. My brake levers are not anywhere close to the bar. Hence I don't suffer from the lever throw problem. When I squeeze my brakes I have maybe 5mm of lever throw. I adjusted my brake lever to be much closer to the bar and yes there is lot's of lever throw to compensate. Perhaps you should have finger surgery and have them surgically lengthened & than you will enjoy XT brakes like the rest of us large handed humans. But maybe now knowing this information in future reviews you will mention in them that as a small fingered rider the XT brakes suffer from too much lever throw. If you have XL or L sized hands you may not have a problem.

Other than the above discussion great writing, great review, and thanks for humoring my rantings yesterday (And today). But seriously check out the lever throw on someones bike who has XL fingers and you will see the problem isn't XT brakes. It is your hands. Cheers!!!!!

@mikealive Well written. Thank you. I am not an elegant writer and you stated it well.
  • + 3
 Bike industry ... Go f*ck urself , bring back the days of 135x10 and 150x12 , when 90% of all parts were cross compatable unless u had a dh rig , most people buying these bikes will never notice the extra stiffness or whatever shite benefit be are being told these hub sizes give us
  • + 6
 29ers are the best, if you don't agree that's fine, just keep riding your tiny wheel bike like a circus bear
  • + 3
 Got to demo one for a while; It's an interesting bike. In 27+ mode I cleaned a long, loose, steep, gravelly climb that I have never been able to do on another bike, but got a ton of pedal strikes. The 27+ is heavy though, I found myself loosing speed and momentum on any trail that isn't straight down, and so while the climbing is easy I found myself working a lot more than usual on "trail" segments with a lot of terrain variability. If you're gravel road climb/dh descent type though it's fantastic.
  • + 3
 Excellent an accurate review, not bad for only a demo ride.
  • + 2
 "142mm or 148mm hub which does not really have a reputation for having issues related to spoke tension". Yes they do, esp 142. The whole reason for equal tension isn't necessarily a stiffer wheel (there's a point where it becomes a hindrance, see the Syndicate loosening spokes for bump compliance) but rather for longevity at those tensions, where unequally tensioned wheels tend want to 'even' themselves out and go out of true faster.
  • + 2
 I just demoed this for a couple of days. I'm 6'2" (188 cm) on a large. I wear 5.10 Impact in a size 12 (46), I didn't have any issues with hitting the stays. I have the paint rubbed off my previous generation Rocky Mtn Altitude seat stays. I thought it climbed well, I left the shock in the full open position most of the time and didn't feel al lot of difference from the middle setting as far as efficiency. I climbed 9.7 miles and 2300 ft of elevation on single track and fire roads.

I thought it rode bigger than 135mm. The downhill was pretty smooth and fast and I was surprised that it didn't feel that much difference in handling than my Altitude. It wasn't as big of a difference as I was expecting. I loved the long top tube, felt the weight was acceptable, and even though I prefer longer travel bikes, I would consider this one, but I think the Firebird is more my style. I didn't notice harshness from the Reynolds wheels, I have Reynolds on my Maiden too, but they are a completely different wheel.

I will be the first to admit that I haven't liked 29ers, but my experience is limited to short laps on the Rocky Mountain Instinct in both the lightweight race whip, and the BC Edition. With that said, I preferred this over the BC Edition, and would consider it as something to add to the stable after a 150mm 27.5 bike.
  • + 1
 Another hub standard sucks a bit but I wonder if this isn't part of the magic of this bike making it more laterally stiff than me at prom. I didn't like any 29ers until I demoed this a few weeks ago and fell in love! Bought one today!
  • + 1
 I rode a switchblade in 29" and loved the stiffness of the rear end! So planted you can just hang the back wheel out around turns and when it let go of grip it was easy to correct. I will be buying one and I have never liked 29ers.
  • + 1
 Uh Oh... So my 29er hardtail with a QR135 rear hub is gonna fail this weekend? Its already been outdated 3-4 times already. I really like this frame, but all the specialist components required these days is ridiculous!...

'Working with DT, we arrived at a 60/40 split. DT Swiss ran some testing for us when we were developing the system using a 142mm rear spacing hub with a 25mm inner width 29er alloy rim as the benchmark. The Boost 148mm rear wheel is 16% stiffer than the 142mm wheel. This is a great stiffness gain and really very appropriate for an XC or shorter travel 29er trail bike or 27.5” bike but stronger riders can still get some wind-up and flex out of a 148mm Boost 29er alloy trail bike wheel and the 148mm doesn’t match the stiffness of the Boost 110 front wheel. '
  • + 1
 Much as I love Pivot (Firebird is truly outrageous) I've got to say that the whole Superboost thing is a bit of a let-down. Yet another "standard" and worse still one that is virtually unavailable aftermarket. I get what they are trying to achieve but I personally think they have tried to be too clever with regards to this. So so glad they didn't super boost the Firebird for sure.
  • - 1
 but... it's not? It's just DH spacing? Get a DH hub or 148 hub and they will work in the Switchblade?
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: 148 won't work because the rotor is in a different place. Yes you could go to a DH hub but if that's your only option then it defeats the object of the spacing at the back end of the frame, unless other companies start doing the same...and we end up with another feckin standard.
  • + 1
 "However, when I ride the Switchblade back to back with, for example, the Evil Following and Santa Cruz Hightower, I can say without hesitation that, yes, this is one stiff son of a bitch."

Yes it's stiff, but it is it stiffer? Is it even noticeably different.

Otherwise I enjoyed reading this and appreciated all the details.

I want to not be cynical about everything Chris Cocalis says but it's so hard. Why not make all bikes superboost?

Side note, I miss when Pivot use to buy 45 pages of ads in Mountain Bike action so they could run their entire catalog there.
  • + 10
 @wibblywobbly The Pivot is significantly stiffer than the Evil and a bit stiffer than the Hightower. For the record, I think the Hightower is plenty stiff and while the Evil is a bit flexy in the back, I still love the Following. Again, given how stout the Pivot frame is (and that's true of their Mach 6 and Firebird as well), I'd go with the aluminum wheels--less money and a more balanced ride. It's possible to go a bit overboard on stiffness. Not all carbon dual-link bikes benefit with super stiff carbon wheels. I'd say that's true of the Santa Cruz models as well. In short, yeah, the Pivot's stiffness is very noticeable. How much of that is attributable to wheels, frame or spacing is, of course, impossible to determine in precise percentages via the seat of your pants. Cheers.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: thank you. This makes sense.
  • + 5
 @vernonfelton: load up a test rig at a local shop. Easy to do on a bluco table. Clamp it side down at the BB and HT, add specific weight to the axle pivot and measure the flex using dial indicator. compare to all bikes moving fwd and you have a possible way to measure using a good repeatable method that stands up to scientific method. Or we can just claim "stiffer than X" while also saying it's impossible to determine.... Wink I'll do it for a fee of frames to ride for the season.
  • + 5
 @vernonfelton: Interesting point. I have a v2 SC 5010. Last year I had Nox carbon wheels. I ended up trying a set of DT XM421 aluminum rims and preferred them -- and sold the Nox.
Heresy, I know. Who goes from carbon rims to aluminum ones? But I prefer the overall ride.
  • + 4
 @atrokz: YOU the man - my thought exactly. I've heard about Spec's testing facility and it's mind blowing how much flex these frames have! From my understanding decreased flex is preferred, yet you hear some pro level riders seeking ways to reduce frame harshness / feedback. i.e. Gwin when he was riding a demo. I think someone at pinkbike needs a test facility for all the "testing" they do year to year.
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton: wait until the Marketing managers figure out how to sell flexier, longer CS bikes as faster bikes (they can track better). Then what?! Wink
  • + 0
 @atrokz: Nah. That is something only a German magazine would do in in their punctual, terse, BS jargon void test. But then we get away from subjective to objective evaluation and the marketing hype loses to direct sales bikes.
  • + 2
 Does anyone remember the Iron Horse 6 Point? 6 inch travel all mountain rig that was amazing. But people hated it because it had a 150 rear end and 83mm bb. It did make it what it was, a downhill pedaling machine.
  • + 1
 I think mine weighed 50 lbs....
  • + 1
 I really liked the Iron Horse 6 & 7 Point & Sunday bikes. Top tube was to high but they rode great with DW link and were burly like Kona. Yeah and the rear end with the 10mm axel was ahead of its time as a standard, made the rear nice and stiff. Oh well, to bad that company got all screwed up.
  • + 1
 Totally agree about the cable routing. A lot of people use a left rear brake. It would be better to have more options on right side cable or hose entry into the frame. You pay a lot for frames these days. No one wants the cables rubbing.
  • + 5
 You absolutely should knock the current XT brakes for reliability!
  • + 3
 Good thing you saved those 30 grams per internal tube on a 7lb frame in xl. Bikes are going up in price and up in weight- something is wrong with that equation.
  • + 4
 Man, lots of solutions to problems that don't, or at least shouldn't exist.
  • + 1
 Sounds like an awesome bike. It's a shame that the bike industry can't settle on a standard for everything though Frown This boost 157 sounds awesome but it's quite limited right now. Give it some time and I'm sure all DH bikes will adapt to the wider flanges and there will be a lot more options available!
  • + 1
 Instead of another hub standard what we need is a hub testing standard. Then instead of manufacturers just saying something is stiffer it could be compared directly to other rim, spoke, hub combos. For example clamp rim on 2 sides and use a mechanical arm to press against the center of the hub. The amount of force required to flex the hub 2mm in either direction is the wheels stiffness. Would take a lot of the BS out of marketing. I'm sure there's some way these are all tested and maybe this already exists.
  • + 1
 I would rather run a standard 157 DH hub with equal spoke length and tension and to hell with the wider bracing angle. Doesn't make sense to run a hub that wide and have to dish the wheel!
  • + 0
 This is the third review I have read for the Switchblade that testers have use words like "jarring" to describe the ride. Would be interesting to hear a bit more as to whether this is a DW or Pivot DW trait in general. Certainly not a characteristic that pushes me toward this bike being a lightweight rider. This category of bike is great on paper, but want to see more on rear suspension characteristics compared to it competitors.
  • + 2
 All the reviews I've seen are referring to the stiffness of the frame, not the suspension.
  • + 1
 very smooth when I rode it. I didn't realy notice stiffness
  • + 3
 Yes finally! Boost super plus 157! See you guys on track at world cups because this will definitely make me faster.
  • - 2
 I need 160mm front , rear and hub.
  • + 1
 it appears im the only one who isnt bothered by the new boosting but am bothered about the use of PF. Thread that bad boy and id consider it otherwise no thanks not interested.
  • + 0
 Was just about to write a remark about the PF-BB until i saw your post.
  • + 2
 @seidla: no issues after 5 months of abuse.
  • + 1
 @yaced:
wait till the bikes a few years old . mine was fine for a couple of years then the frame gets worn when you replace them. microscopically wears away the frame every time and it adds up. that or the bb manufacturers get lazy on the tolerances. either way there is no justification for pf on a high end bike.
  • + 3
 I've been applying DOT for a few hours now.... How long 'til the testes appear?
  • + 5
 Super boost plus? FML.
  • + 2
 That is a killer picture of the hub profiles. It looks like I can use my old 150mm dh hubs,after I purchase the 157mm conversion axle, on the new bikes?
  • + 1
 "Can you make great bikes in Boost 148? Sure. We rode great 142-equipped bikes, for that matter"

but also with the old 135mm spacing. i have a specy enduro frame from 2011, and it's not like it's unridable...
  • + 3
 Super boost plus... what a f'n joke and cable routing under the bottom bracket shell...no thank you Pivot.
  • + 2
 Can't figure out how to fit 135 on a frame, so they went wider. Super boost is super marketing!
  • + 1
 Anyone else notice the same facial expression in every photo....If a bike doesn't make you smile or make your mouth go 'O' then it ain't worth buying.
  • + 1
 best bike ive ever ridden!! preferred plus tyres. firebird better for big drops obviously but overall I prefer this for trail riding
  • + 2
 Nah, I'm waiting for Super Fucking Ultra Boost Plus 250mm with 300mm flange spacing. That would be IT!
  • + 1
 As soon as I read "super boost" a few times...I stopped reading.

Forget super boost, "I need NOS...my bike topped out at 40mph yesterday".
  • + 4
 *grabs popcorn*
  • + 3
 Remember the time, when only 135 and 150 rear hubs are existed.
  • + 2
 $10500 for a bycicle is expensive.
  • + 3
 DuecheBoost?
  • + 2
 These hub widths are ****ing bull****.
  • + 2
 Do they make a non boost 26 inch version. Id be all over that!
  • + 0
 Why don't they have Super Boost Fighter II Ultra Mega Turbo GOTY Edition out yet?

But the bike industry should have settled on 157mm hubs in the first place for ALL MTBs.
  • + 2
 SUPER BOOOOOOOOOOST!!!!! WTF IS GOING ON????
  • + 2
 Boost This Boost That bla bla bla bla bla full of Boosted Bulls**t
  • + 2
 How the hell did I ,a poor man, get addicted to a rich man's sport??
  • + 1
 Ha I am about to empty my account for this beast so know the feeling! Demoed it and it just rips so hard I can't resist!
  • + 1
 Following or Switchblade? Which would you keep?

I love my Evil, but also enjoy new bikes
  • + 2
 ARRGRGRGGRHHGHGHGHGHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Smart answers to some good questions.
  • + 1
 I'm LOVING my Switchblade. Haters be damned!
  • + 1
 Vernon looking Like RC these days.
  • + 1
 I'm waiting for Super Boost Plus 157 Double Extra Good.
  • + 0
 YThe f* should I buy this bike for 2x the price? Is riding 2x more Radon it?
  • + 2
 POS.
  • + 1
 I though the Plus Sized wheels fad has passed.
  • + 1
 Nice write up.

How does the SB stack up against the HT ?
  • + 0
 Are we targeting millenial's now? Is this supposed to be like the "gay" mountain bike? (It looks like a girls bike)
  • + 1
 Nice looking bike
  • + 0
 It's electric boogie woogie woogie woogie
  • - 1
 Superboost 157 makes me stiff
  • - 3
 you can fit your OLD DH HUB, this is a WIN.. well done.
  • - 3
 I ride the fork at 160mm, I removed the token inside and I don't have the cup...I am on 29er hoops...
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